Short How to Guide: Job Hunting Tips

Short How to Guide:
Job Hunting Tips
The purpose of this guide is to provide you with some support in your job hunting process
and to encourage you to take a proactive approach to tracking down the best opportunities.
 Start with analysing your strengths, skills, interest and only then move to
research sectors and gather loads of information around your chosen sector
 Then think on your approach tactics: who, how, when:
1. Networking
2. Agencies
3. Adverts
4. Speculative
 Review and start again
 Be organised, systematic, and persistent. Also use any support available and
ask for help.
So first things first: self-assess and consider what skills you have to offer? What is your
unique selling point? This is the characteristic that sets you apart from others and makes
you a strong candidate. Then gather lots of information about your target sector. Do the
employers advertise and, if so, where? Do they use recruitment agencies? Which ones?
What selection methods do they use? What things do they look for in applications?
In addition, the more you know about a particular job and its sector, the easier it is to
convince a recruiter that you have the right qualities, qualifications or experience. You can
find out more from:
AGCAS occupational profiles - as well as giving brief summaries of over 400
occupations, these sheets also identify specific places to look for relevant vacancies
To be an effective job hunter you need to choose around 4 different methods of job hunting
to increase your chances of success. 1 For instance, you could join a couple of temp agencies,
volunteer one day a week in an organisation related to your chosen careers area, ensure
that once a week you attend professional networking evening to gather sector information,
and finally you could also send a speculative CV to your favourite companies. Trying different
methods is a proven way of increasing your chances of success.
One of the keys to this is building a network of contacts both as a source of information
about the career that you are interested in, and as a way to get yourself known by people
who may be able to help you. Try not to leave this too late, it is very hard to build a network
when you and starting to get desperate for a job!
See Richard Nelson Bolles, What Colour is Your Parachute especially chapter one where he talks
about over 16 different job hunting methods.
First, try to identify people you already have some link with who may be useful, or who
could lead you to someone useful. Make a list of everyone you know: friends, family,
colleagues, fellow students, former employers, tutors, people on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Let
them know the type of work you are interested in and ask if they know anyone with
knowledge of that area. If none of these options generate results it is often possible to find
lists of companies working within a sector. You can then approach them directly by ‘cold
calling’. Such lists can be found in a number of ways.
General business directories, such as Yellow Pages or KOMPASS.
Specialist directories, such as Willings Press Guide, Voluntary Agencies Directory.
Many of these are produced by relevant professional or trade associations. The
Directory of British Associations or the Trade Association Forum website may help you to identify the appropriate organisation.
Remember you are creating a network of professionals to give you information. Approach
people to arrange informal meetings to find out about their jobs and careers. In general,
people respond positively to such requests, especially if you are only asking for information
and advice and not a job (at this stage). Even if you are still unsure about the right job for
you, information interviewing can help you decide if you really would enjoy this type of
Many people believe that recruitment agencies are an easy option for job hunting, however
like anything else when job hunting you get back the effort you put in. They can be a useful
additional job hunting method but, to increase your chances of obtaining meaningful work
experience, you will have to put in a lot of effort.
 Research the agencies - Research a few, shop around to find the agency that best
fits your needs, ask them for details of employers they work with, application tips
 Look for accredited recruitment agencies or consultancies that specialise in the
career area you wish to work in. REC is the umbrella organisation for accredited
recruitment agencies, search their directory of members. All recruitment agencies
that will be on campus next week are REC accredited.
 Give recruitment consultants an up to date CV – Make sure you get your checked
and proof read by a professional. If you do not have a CV ready go to our interactive
CV Builder to create a CV for yourself. Click on “GET Resources for Current Students”
and log-in at 2
 Make a good impression e.g. be friendly, dress smartly and professionally. Prepare
your conversations before hand, including good quality questions about their
industry and remain professional at all times.
 Sign up to more than one recruitment agency as they may have different employer
links. Make sure you let them know you are doing this, and keep a record.
 Keep them up to date of your contact details, change of circumstances or
constraints as to what you can or can’t do.
Try signing up at the following recruitment websites also:
By the way you should not have to pay a fee or feel obligated to pay for ‘add-ons’ such as CV checking or
interview preparation as a condition of being with a Recruitment Agency. If anything your Guidance &
Employability Team (GET) can advise you on CVs as well as preparing effectively for assessment centres and
interviews, all for free. Go to: and
click on “drop-ins” to find out about our times and location.
Directly answering advert vacancies is another way of job hunting, however remember that
if you are answering adverts that are online or on national newspapers you will be
competing with a lot of people! These are some of the places where you can find adverts, in:
national, regional and local newspapers (e.g. The Guardian, The Independent)
special job newspapers (e.g. Jobs UK, The Loot)
specialist ‘trade’ journals (e.g. Computing, The Bookseller)
your local high street or shopping centre –many jobs are advertised by a poster or
card in the window
 local Job Centres -you can also search for jobs on their website
click “find a job” to gain access to the job search engine
 General graduate online vacancies sites:;;;;;
Having identified relevant employers, you could just send off your CV in the hope that they
have a position available. Such speculative applications can result in success. To increase
your chances, your applications should be well-researched and targeted to that particular
area. Resist the temptation to fire off hundreds of identical CVs and covering letters in the
vague hope that something will happen. Often, a better approach is to make an informal
contact first or go knocking on the employer’s door.
Job hunting requires persistence and determination but if you are not getting any results
after a substantial period of time, you may want to review your strategy. This could mean:
 following up any contacts you may have –remember to keep networking!
 gaining experience by volunteering - even if you already have some experience this
is also a way of expanding your network and skills
 acquiring or developing skills by taking a course –you need to ensure that you keep
your skills up to date, especially technical skills
 taking a less responsible job which would enhance your chances of getting the job
you want, so balance your short term and long term goals
 changing your CV and covering letter to make it more effective (based on advice
from your contacts)
 the UK’s official graduate
careers website full of useful further advice
 Job Hunting videos:
The Guidance & Employability Team (GET) is the University's centralised service that assists all
University of Greenwich students and recent graduates with their transition into graduate
employment. Services include individual guidance, part-time and vacation work support, student
volunteering and mentoring, access to employers, careers and postgraduate study information, and
graduate skills training. You can find more information at